Planners have given the go-ahead for 650 new houses at Jurston Farm despite the loss of 40 allotments planned for the development. Councillors were clearly disturbed at the withdrawal of the promised allotments and at one point seemed set to defer or refuse the permission.
Protestors from the Save Wellington Action Group were out in force at what was frequently a stormy meeting. After the decision they vowed to fight on and challenge every small detail when the time comes for detailed permission.
Further confusion involved plans for a new primary school on the site. Officers were unable to give a cast-iron assurance that it would happen. “The developer has provided land for the school and there is a reasonable likelihood that the school will be delivered,” hedged planning manager Matthew Bale of TDBC.
In fact the education authority’s revised plan for a 14-class school at Jurston Farm, rather than 7-classes (with a second small school at Longforth Farm) is the cause of the allotment land being now unavailable. For the first year or so new children will be taught in a temporary classroom at an existing Wellington school.
Resident Richard Almond raised the flooding issue, pointing out that the nearby A38 already floods frequently.” Put down acres of concrete and new roofs, take away he sponge effect of farmland, and the rainwater has to go somewhere,” he said.
Another protestor, Russell Loarridge, insisted that the Save Wellington group not be seen as NIMBYs. “A town that was 10,000 people in 2001 is now 14,000 and will be 18,000 in five years time. We don’t have the money or the infrastructure to cope with increases on this scale,” he said.
For developers CG Fry, agent Robin Upton said: “The planning system cannot be based on popularity otherwise nothing would ever get built. This scheme will also provide 160 affordable homes for the town.”